Questlove’s Quest: Bringing televised music back into prominence

The Roots' Questlove is using his knowledge and unique position to reinvent televised music (Photo: courtesy of npr.org)

The Roots’ Questlove is using his knowledge and unique position to reinvent televised music (Photo: courtesy of npr.org)

MTV has failed. Once hailed as the place to go for televised music 24/7, much of its melodic programming has been replaced by dumbed-down reality shows and celebrity gossip. Questlove knows this and he has made it his goal to see music return to prominence on TV.

Ahmir Thompson, a.k.a. Questlove, is the drummer and leader of The Roots, the extremely talented and eclectic house-band featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He’s also one of the creative geniuses behind much of the musical frivolity on the show, from Jimmy and Justin Timberlake’s “History of Rap” segments to what has to be the most unique rendition ever of Idina Menzel’s hit song from the movie Frozen, “Let It Go.”

Still, that’s just not enough for Quest. As someone who was raised on televised music programs like Soul Train and Midnight Special, Questlove has an affinity for the genre and he is doing everything possible to share that love with as broad an audience as possible. Thus, the reason behind his newly created TV show, SoundClash!

The show premiered Wednesday night on VH1 and, according to an article in The Daily Beast, has a simple, yet extremely interesting concept: “Take three artists from three wildly different genres and have them play a concert together. Each artist has a chance to take the spotlight, and after an hour of music that transitions from rap to rock to pop and back again, the three acts unite for one collaborative performance.” Check out the trailer below.

As someone who has been a fan of The Roots and Questlove for sometime, I’ve got my fingers crossed that this new show will be a hit. Quest’s vision – his mission in life – is to take music out of the box and unleash it, in all of it’s wondrous forms, upon the world. Hardly anyone listens to just one genre of music, and a show like SoundClash is a perfect opportunity for people to discover diversity and collaboration. It can also go a long way towards revitalizing interest in music television in a way that popularity contests such as American Idol or X Factor could never achieve.

Erykah Badu Successfully Video-Bombs New York Reporter, Fails Kiss Attempt

The "eccentric" Erykah Badu performs live (Photo: courtesy of widescreen.com)

The “eccentric” Erykah Badu performs live (Photo: courtesy of widescreen.com)

I’d like to open this post with a question. Why is it when rich people exhibit strange behavior they’re called “eccentric,” when If I did this kind of thing I’d just be labeled crazy? Not that I’m refuting such claims. 🙂

In an attempt to seek some apparently much-needed publicity, singer/songwriter Erykah Badu did her best to steal the spotlight from a reporter broadcasting live in New York while wearing a “Pharrell-esq” big white hat. New York’s Pix 11 reporter Mario Diaz was reporting live on the recent arrest of movie star Shia LaBeouf, when this happened…

After sneaking around the frame for a few seconds with a creepy grin on her face, Badu actually attempts to kiss Diaz, who successfully pushes the singer away and states, “couldn’t avoid a fan just now.”

According to Rollingstone, Badu originally denied that it was her in the video, but eventually confirmed it as she tweeted an apology to Diaz, who then tweeted back with Prince lyrics. “I get it because… ‘Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with I just want your extra time and your….. kiss.’ He then promised, “Next time I won’t do the NYC push back.”

All’s well that ends well, I guess. No one got mugged and no one got arrested. Well… except Shia LaBeouf, of course.

 

Mad Skillz: Weezer’s drummer catches Frisbee without missing a beat!

Weezer's Patrick Wilson demonstrates awesome concentration and coordination during live performance (Photo: courtesy of Salon.com)

Weezer’s Patrick Wilson demonstrates awesome concentration and coordination during live performance (Photo: courtesy of Salon.com)

Skill. It’s not just about raw talent. To show what you’re really capable of it takes dedication, passion, and total concentration on the task at hand. Well, Weezer‘s Patrick Wilson just proved that he’s the king of concentration.

During a live set in St. Augustine, FL the band was jamming on their hit song “Beverly Hills” when a fan decided it would be the perfect time to play a game of Frisbee. What’s more, this fan apparently decided to play nice and include Wilson in the fun. See for yourself what happened next in the video below.

Yup! Wilson not only catches the Frisbee in mid-flight and transfers it to his mouth, but he does so without missing a beat… literally! As you can clearly hear, the crowd went nuts, as they should.

Anytime you attempt to do your best the pressure to achieve perfection is on, but when you’re performing in front of a live audience, that pressure is multiplied exponentially. Patrick just showed us all how developing your concentration skills and fully committing yourself to your goal can not only carry you through that pressure, but cause you to thrive in the midst of it. Plus, it was pretty damn cool.

Billie Jean… On Beer Bottles? You’ve never heard MJ like this!

The Bottle Boys covering "Under The Sea" (Photo: courtesy of YouTube)

The Bottle Boys covering “Under The Sea” (Photo: courtesy of YouTube)

Despite his untimely death, Michael Jackson sure has been in the news a lot lately. From the release of his second posthumous album, Xscape, to an amazing, if controversial “live” holographic performance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, MJ’s ghost is seemingly everywhere. Now, five guys who call themselves “The Bottle Boys” have channeled his spirit with a collection of… beer bottles?

A viral video of the group performing the late superstar’s classic “Billie Jean” on perfectly “tuned” beer bottles has hit YouTube and is quickly becoming a sensation. I think it’s a safe bet to say you’ve never heard Michael Jackson quite like this before.

This is far from the Denmark based quintet’s first performance as they have covered everything from Christmas songs to Lady Gaga. They also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013, thrilling the crowd, but receiving less than a warm welcome from perpetual party-pooper Simon Cowell.

OK, so they may never win a Grammy, but that’s not always the goal, is it? These guys are having fun and entertaining people both live and on YouTube. “Billie Jean” is their most recent cover and it has received almost half a million views in eight days. Simon might not be a fan, but then fun is usually best recognized by those who don’t have a stick up their bum.

Chris Brown Is Out Of Jail… Again.

Chris Brown was released from LA County Jail early Monday morning (Photo: courtesy of Time.com)

Chris Brown was released from LA County Jail early Monday morning (Photo: courtesy of Time.com)

According to sources within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, singer Chris Brown was released from an LA County jail at 12:01am today (June 2) where he was serving out a sentence after being expelled from a court-ordered drug treatment program in March.

Brown has been plagued with legal issues over the years, from the infamous attack on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009 to allegedly assaulting a man outside of a Washington D.C. hotel in October while still on probation.

The R&B artist has been in jail since March of this year and was sentenced in May to serve an additional 131 days. However, taking into consideration time served (a combination of time spent in jail and rehab) and additional credit for good behavior, it appears as if Brown was allowed to serve a considerably smaller sentence. You can read more about it here.

Is this good or bad? Do you think the Grammy-winner has really learned his lesson or did the jail just see the need to make room for Justin Bieber? You know… just in case.

“The End”: Suspected virus puts an end to Paul McCartney’s Japanese tour

Paul McCartney in Tokyo, November 2013 (phot: paulmccartney.com)

Paul McCartney in Tokyo, November 2013 (phot: paulmccartney.com)

It appears that Sir Paul McCartney has had to cancel the remainder of his 2014 Japanese tour due to illness. According to Rolling Stone, McCartney is under strict doctor’s orders for “complete bed rest” in order to fight off a suspected virus.

In a prepared statement, McCartney told fans that he was “really looking forward to playing Japan again” and apologized profusely. “Unfortunately my condition has not improved overnight. I was really hoping that I’d be feeling better today. I’m so disappointed and sorry to be letting my fans down.”

The former Beatle is expected to make a full recovery in the coming weeks and is scheduled to bring his “Out There” tour to the United States starting on June 14.

Get well soon, Sir Paul. 🙂

 

“Live” Michael Jackson Performance Wows at Billboard Awards!

The immortal Michael Jackson gives an amazing posthumous "live" performance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards (photo: popsugar.com)

The immortal Michael Jackson gives an amazing posthumous “live” performance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards (photo: popsugar.com)

It’s as if he never died. Michael Jackson has been turning heads and making headlines over the past several weeks, just like he did before his tragic and untimely death in June of 2009. His new hit single “Love Never Felt So good” (performed with Justin Timberlake) debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100, the official video has reached over 9.5 million views on VEVO, and the parent album, Xscapeis currently vying for the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

To top it off, Jackson rocked the Billboard Music Awards last night with a “live” holographic performance of another track from the Xscape album, “Slave To The Rhythm.”

The performance brought out an array of emotional responses, both positive and negative. While many MJ fans were tearful over the chance to see their idol on stage one more time, many others took to Twitter to voice their displeasure over the idea that the music industry continues to exploit Michael and make money at his expense.

This isn’t the first time a deceased music icon has been resurrected via modern technology. Back in 2007, Celine Dion performed a duet side-by-side with “The King,” Elvis Presley on American Idol. And in 2012, Coachella thrilled concert-goers with an amazing holographic performance from Tupac as he walked the stage and performed with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre (NSFW).

With how quickly technology continues to improve and break through previously set barriers, iconic rock stars of the past truly are becoming immortal… whether they want to be or not.